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Can invention bring innovation of human life?

Author: Yudai Kaneda

School of Medicine, Hokkaido University

I believe that the two concepts are inseparable, since innovation is brought about by innovation. Although these words may be defined in various ways depending on how they are understood, I define "invention" as "the development or invention of something," and "innovation" as "the achievement of a social structure or lifestyle that was previously unachievable.”

Looking back in history, about 4 million years ago, humans were living by hunting and gathering, making knife-like objects by breaking stones. Then, as time passed, by polishing stones to a sharp point and developing bows and arrows and fishing rods, they made possible a settled lifestyle that had previously been only a fiction, and realized a stable lifestyle, including agriculture. In other cases, Watt's development of the steam engine enabled people to travel long distances by ship and engine, and efficient factory production by machine. In a more recent context, it is fair to say that much of our current life is the result of various inventions: think of how the smartphone, which was unimaginable 20 years ago, has become so deeply rooted in our daily lives. We have created a lifestyle in which smartphones allow us to shop, look up things we don't know, and talk to other people, all from our comfortable homes.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that innovation comes after invention. In order to innovate society for the better one, it is essential to seek out people's needs and improvements to existing products, and to develop alternative systems and products.


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